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As new year nears, a word for our times: surveillance
Dec 30th, 2013 by Warren Swil

Debate over privacy

moves to top of agenda

A drone like this one could appear soon in the sky above your home.

IF THERE IS one concept that can summarize the zeitgeist of 2013, those In the K(n)ow would pick “surveillance.”
As the clock ticks down to a Gregorian-calendar new year, we can look back and see this topic as the most discussed and analyzed during the past 12 months.
Not only, however, in the narrow sense of government and corporate spying on everyone.
We also got a taste of the future – 2014 and further out – with skies full of drones capable of watching everyone, everywhere all the time.
Seems like George Orwell was only about 30 years off in his prediction of a total surveillance society so eloquently expressed in the novel “1984.”


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Spying panel recommendations: a matter of trust

REPORT FURTHER ERODES FAITH IN ELECTRONIC PRIVACY
While the recommendations of a presidential panel on government spying have been mostly welcomed, they could be seen as a confession that the revelations of Edward Snowden are accurate, and that everyone for years has been monitored on a massive scale unprecedented in its scope and size.
The key issue is one of trust. It has been seriously damaged.
Reform is urgently needed. The longer it is delayed, the more trust will erode.


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Spying fallout: Internet giants launch offensive defense

CALL FOR CURBS ON GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE IS SELF-SERVING
Some of the biggest players on the internet launched a massive public relations campaign Monday calling for new limits on government surveillance.
But it is so transparently a move to protect corporate profits that only the most naïve would not see it as such.
The corporate appeal should be seen for what it is: an attempt to get the companies on the right side of an issue that poses an existential threat to them. It’s not a pretty picture.


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Spying scandal: lies, truth and the need to earn a living

REPORTER GREENWALD MOUNTS PASSIONATE, CONVINCING DEFENSE
A vituperative verbal battle has broken out about the journalist at the center of the reporting on the documents leaked by Edward Snowden: Glenn Greenwald has responded with a passionate, extensive and convincing defense of his methods and actions.
It is an absolutely must-read for anyone who cares about how the most startling and significant revelations about government wrongdoing have been exposed – and, likely, will continue to be so.


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Drones will soon be buzzing in the sky above you

THOUSANDS OF NON-MILITARY UAVS UNDER DEVELOPMENT
It is an absolute certainty that the skies above modern metropolises and the surrounding countryside will soon be buzzing with UAVs.
The potential impacts on gathering sensitive personal data are huge. The ACLU has raised the alarm over the threat to privacy.
If you think government spying on electronic communications like email and telephone calls is bad, there might be a much bigger, less welcome surprise waiting for everyone as drones get deployed by the thousands over our homes and cities.


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NYT: Sitting on a story that might have changed the world

COURAGEOUS PUBLIC AIRING EXPLAINS MUCH, EXCUSES LITTLE
In a courageous – if overdue – explanation of one of the most enduring mysteries at The New York Times, the public editor on Sunday examined why the paper delayed publishing a vital story that might have influenced the outcome of the 2004 presidential election.
The damage done by this regrettable episode is incalculable.
We and The New York Times can never measure the credibility lost but we can hope it has learned the lesson expressed in the last paragraph: it’s better to err on the side of disclosure.


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SPYING ON EVERYONE: Google, Yahoo data caught in dragnet

NOW IT’S PERSONAL FOR ALMOST EVERY INTERNET USER
In a major development in the government spying scandal, it was revealed Wednesday that not just chancellors and prime ministers are targeted by the NSA.
The Washington Post reported that massive data streams are diverted off-shore from Google and Yahoo into government data warehouses.
As the spying scandal unravels, it comes closer to home for each and every user of the internet, no matter where one is located on the map.
There can be no doubt that online privacy is vanishing, if it has not already disappeared.


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Spy scandal spirals into diplomatic crisis

QUESTION OF COVER-UP ARISES IN EUROPEAN MEDIA
As media in the U.S. largely ignored it, the scandal over government spying on allies in Europe spiraled over the weekend in unexpected directions.
The White House was described as “in disarray” in its response to the reports.
The story seems to be taking a familiar route: what did the president know and when did he know it?
We would be wise to take a cue from our democratic friends and allies across the pond and bring pressure to bear on our own representatives to end the spying abroad and at home.


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Positive effect of government shutdown: less spying on everyone

KEY REPORTER DEMOLISHES MEDIA IN BBC INTERVIEW
One positive outcome of the U.S. government shutdown is that, for a while at least, it will be spying less on American citizens and people throughout the world.
In a confrontational interview the topic on the BBC, the most important journalist of our time Glenn Greenwald delivered one knockout blow after another.
The debates over the proper relationship between journalists and governments have been as illuminating and significant as the debates over government spying and secrecy.
Watch a video of the show, and decide for yourself.


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Another blow to privacy: NSA shares data on Americans

SNOWDEN DOCUMENT SHOWS ISRAEL KNOWS ALL ABOUT U.S. CITIZENS.
The most important journalist in the world right now continues to break news of vital importance to everyone based on data leaked to him by Edward Snowden.
On Wednesday, Glenn Greenwald in the Guardian revealed that the NSA shares massive amounts of raw data – including information on U.S. citizens – with Israel.
One can only wonder about the long-term effect the Snowden disclosures reported fearlessly by Greenwald and the Guardian will have on how we all use the internet.
It should be a wake-up call to everyone. But who is paying attention with the all-Syria-all-the-time news?


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